Health care bill opponents: Executive order on abortion doesn't cut it

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Reports are emerging that pro-life Congressman Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat, may be close to a deal with the White House regarding his issues with federal funding for abortion in the Senate health care bill. Mr. Stupak’s spokeswoman told news outlets that a deal could be made for a presidential executive order that would address the Michigan Democrat’s abortion funding objections. However, pro-life leaders and opponents of the health care legislation spoke out against the executive order idea as the best solution to keep tax-payer dollars away from the abortion industry.

Betsy McCaughey, former Lieutenant Governor of New York and health care bill opponent activist, said:

“President Barack Obama is trying to lure anti-abortion Democrats to vote yes for the Senate health bill with promises that he will “fix” their fears of abortion funding with an Executive Order.  But Executive Orders cannot change the law. The Supreme Court made that clear in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Company v. Sawyer , 33 US 579 (1952).

Like Speaker Pelosi’s idea of “deeming” the Senate bill passed by the House, which fortunately is no longer being considered, this idea of using an Executive Order will not survive constitutional scrutiny. Article 1 Sect. 7 prescribes one and only one method of lawmaking. The President cannot do it alone by Executive Order.  

“An Executive Order would be a temporary and constitutionally flawed fix for the abortion issue,” said Betsy McCaughey, former Lt. Governor of New York State and the author of two books on the history of the U.S. Constitution. “The high court has repeatedly ruled that lawmaking must adhere to the rigorous procedures laid out in Article 1 Section 7. Sadly the President and the Speaker, though bound by oath to uphold the Constitution, like to play fast and loose with it.”

President of Americans United for Life Action, Charmaine Yoest, sent out a statement challenging the legal strength of the order:

“Once again, the proposal to address the problem of abortion funding in the health care bill through use of an executive order is a tacit acknowledgement that the bill as it stands is pro-abortion legislation. Both the President and the Speaker have repeatedly denied this stark fact.

Furthermore, the AUL legal team has concluded that an executive order is not an adequate fix to mitigate the Senate bill’s establishment of taxpayer-funded abortion.  For example, an executive order cannot prevent insurance companies that pay for abortions in the exchanges from receiving federal subsidies. 

In addition, executive orders can be undone or modified as quickly as they are created. President Obama revoked the Mexico City Policy, through the use of an executive order, and thereby allowed federal tax dollars to finance organizations that provide abortions internationally for the first time in years.

This fact, coupled with the Administration’s repeated endorsement of the pro-abortion lobby’s agenda, force any reasonable person to conclude that this bill will clearly create the largest expansion of taxpayer-funded abortion in American history.”

Father Frank Pavone of Priest’s for Life told me his thoughts on pro- life Democrats who switched from “no” to “yes” and why he still has problems trusting the White House’s executive order deal.

The Catholic priest said that some of the pro-life Democrats that switched to a yes were influenced by the statement that came out from the Catholic religious Sisters.

“Some of theirs who switched their vote relied on that as the reason, but of course the statement from the Sisters is misguided in as much as it asserted there was no abortion funding in the bill. The latest I heard from Bart Stupak is that he’s not sure. He was not sure what that meant, because other people were changing for other reasons, but if any of the others do not stay with him, it’s going to be because of their hopes of what comes out of the White House with the executive order,” he said.

“The problem is we haven’t seen the wording of it yet. We’ll have to see what it says. Secondly, you have abortion advocates in the White House. How are abortion advocates to be trusted in not bringing money into the abortion industry? The question is how does this thing exactly work? How are they going to guarantee that it really does keep the money out of the abortion industry? We just can’t trust these people who are so allied with the abortion industry.”

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About the Author
Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket, a former Opinion Blogger/Editor of The Watercooler, was associate producer for the Media Research Center, a content producer for Robin Quivers of "The Howard Stern Show" on Sirius satellite radio and a production assistant and copy writer at MTV.

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